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Negoiating a hair-pin turn

Catrin2011-11-20 05:20:04 +0000 #1
While still slow, I've come a long way this summer in mountain biking. One of the things that still gives me a lot of problems are the really tight turns. Typically one of two things happen - I am either going too fast and wind up in the grass inside of the curve, or if I make it around the curve, often I seem to wind up trying to climb up the side of the curve instead of my tires being in the line in the middle of the single-track.

My assumption is this is due to speed and body english...I did somewhat better today as I tried to intentionally slow down further and look as far ahead as I could but it was still a challenge. That is ok, challenges are good! It may also be that fear of the edge biting me as quite often these are on the edge, or at least a portion is.

The only time I fell on the trail today was coming out of one of those hair-pins, once again I was further up the side of the berm than I should have been and my tire hit a boulder...I didn't go over the bars, but I did get thrown off the side of my bike. Fortunately there wasn't an edge there to go over

Any advice from others with more experience? Thankfully I've seem to have pretty much gotten over my fear of exposure - outside of hair-pin turns that is.


jessmarimba2011-11-20 05:30:50 +0000 #2
Have you done the turning drill where you put something (like a water bottle) on the ground and steer around it? Like, to turn left, your front wheel would go to the right of the bottle and your back wheel would go to the left of it? Doing that a few times helped me get more of a feel for how the bike handles switchbacks and it helps me visualize the center of the turn to learn how to steer through it.
Catrin2011-11-20 05:54:43 +0000 #3
Quote:

Originally Posted by jessmarimba

Have you done the turning drill where you put something (like a water bottle) on the ground and steer around it? Like, to turn left, your front wheel would go to the right of the bottle and your back wheel would go to the left of it? Doing that a few times helped me get more of a feel for how the bike handles switchbacks and it helps me visualize the center of the turn to learn how to steer through it.

I have done this, but frankly the turns probably weren't tight enough...it sounds like a good drill to return to.
Becky2011-11-20 06:12:39 +0000 #4
Are you steering with the handlebars, or leaning into the turn? It's been my experience that I get better results with all turns, regardless of radius, when I lean more and let the outside edges of the tires bite. Momentum helps too.

For me, it clicked when I realized that MTBing is kinda like skiing when it comes to turns....
Catrin2011-11-20 06:57:01 +0000 #5
I have really learned these last couple of rides just how much momentum really is a friend. I am unsure if I've really been going too fast...or too slow around the tight turns. I try to follow the curve around with my eyes, but I might be steering...something I check out next time.
Becky2011-11-20 06:45:16 +0000 #6
Don't worry, Catrin- I've been MTBing ~10 years and I didn't really get the whole momentum thing until just last year. Always something new to learn!

You will have to steer some on a turn that sharp. But the slower you're going, the more you have to steer and the less you can lean/corner. I suggest finding a sweeping turn that you're comfortable with (no edges!), and practice going through it at different speeds and changing up the amounts of steering and leaning. See how your body and your bike respond.

Good luck!

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